Cleaning a Bedroom for a child aged 6 and under
For the under 6 everything is play in the child’s eyes. They don’t see “play”, “mess” or “clean up”. You see the messy room or tidy room and it’s you who wants the transformation from messy to tidy, so you have to communicate with the child to get what you want. The most important thing is to train the child so that in a few year's time they will be able to tidy the room by themselves..
Tidy the room with the child in the room, but don’t expect the child to do the bulk of the tidying, their main job at this age is to watch and learn. If they can watch you tidy their bedroom they will be learning a skill just by watching.
Make sure there is enough storage space for all the items in the child’s room. You can't put things away if there's nowhere to put them. If there is a place for everything the child will more easily be able to help.
Make it fun and you will get cooperation. Children appreciate parents being silly much more than they appreciate them being strict.
Take a trash bag and pick up anything that’s trash that can go straight out the door and into the garbage bin. Keep a box by the door and anything that’s not wanted any more but still has value can go in the box and be donated to a thrift store. As soon as you have finished tidying put the box in your car or garage ready to be donated at the first available opportunity.
Start with the floor. Even if you don’t manage to tidy the whole room, if the floor is done it will appear greatly improved.
Pick the item there are most of on the floor, e.g. Duplo, Brio, books, cars, dolls. Tell the child that’s what you’re doing first. You and the child collect all of those items and put them in the right place. Then you will have a new item you see most of, move to that item.
Ask the child if they can collect more than you can. This is huge fun to try and beat mommy. Of course you have to let the child win!
As the toys on the floor reduce, push them into a smaller and smaller pile. It’s easier to put away items that are all in one place rather than items that are scattered.
Make sure that there is a laundry basket in the child’s room. Train the child to put laundry into this basket so there won’t be clothes on the floor. If you can train a young child to do this, there will be less telling the child as he gets older.
Use tidying as a teaching tool. Count what you put away. Count to 10, do another 10 etc. Don’t count every single item and end up with over 100 items if the child can’t count to 100. If the child doesn’t know their colors this is a good time to teach them. Pick up all the blue items, then the red items, the child will soon learn like that.
The room doesn’t have to be perfect, just greatly improved. Don’t get disheartened if it’s messy again soon afterward.
Tidy frequently then it won’t be a big job each time you do it. Daily is ideal if you can manage it.
Remember the goal isn’t just to get the child’s room tidy today, but to train the child to tidy their own room in the future.
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